This name change will not affect U. Prep’s great football. It will not affect the fans or the marching band or the school spirit in Cupples Stadium. The reason for this boils down to one observation that could be made by anyone who attended the City League football championship:
People did not know to call the team “Panthers” to begin with.
Flash back to that sunny November 19th afternoon when the City Championship occurred. Allderdice fans did their characteristic cheer. It’s the one where a group of fans sings, “ALLDER-DIIIICE!”
Then, their friends answer “DRAAG-ONS!”
And the two groups go back and forth. It’s a great cheer, because it’s about school spirit and a sense of humor at the same time. Allderdice is cerebral like that.
The fans cheering for the University Prep team were faced with a different challenge that day. They came from three different schools (University Prep, Science and Technology Academy, and Obama) and the entire fall season had been a first for every one of their sports teams. Many of the collective’s teams came through Obama Academy, which was appropriately nicknamed the Eagles. But in the case of football, University Prep provided the majority of the athletes. Hence, the team name came from University Prep. From the early season football previews on through all of the articles, the media called the University Prep team “Panthers.” So, it became the handle to use.
When the cheerleaders clad in U. Prep purple were ready to poke some good-natured fun at Allderdice, they began their own incantation and response:
The take-home point here is that not even the cheerleaders were calling the team “Panthers” at that point.
You could call this confusion. You could roll your eyes and say a name change is only going to make the fans more confused. Or maybe you could look at the important part: the students were cheering for their brand new team.
Let’s give the new schools the benefit of time to hit their stride while all of the teams are new. It’s not like they’re changing their logo to a Ninja Turtle. Although, the University of Maryland might sell some t-shirts with that…
To sum up, it is still at U. Prep’s discretion to make changes. This season’s team name was unimportant to students -- they were ready to cheer and welcome a new school spirit regardless of the vernacular. So in the future, we here at Sports Town will say, “Go, Wildcats!”
Cheers to your team, whoever you are, in 2012.